Quiche Lorraine

Updated: Aug 8

by Michel Roux from ‘The Essence of French Cooking’ (Quadrille)

Photography: Lisa Linder


This famous tart, named after the region where it originated in Northeast France, has stood the test of time. It should be served just warm or hot, but not piping hot or its flavours will be lost on the palate. Some purists won’t hear of using Comté or any other cheese… but I’m standing by my inclusion of both cheese and lardons.



Serves 8–10


Ingredients

20g butter, to grease

300g flan pastry (see recipe below)

Flour, for dusting

½ egg, beaten


Filling

2 tsp groundnut oil

100g salted belly pork, rind removed, cut into small lardons, blanched and refreshed (or Nigel says use pre-bought lardons, smoked or not. As you wish)

3 eggs, plus 6 egg yolks

600ml double cream

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1½ tbsp Kirsch (optional)

100g Comté cheese, freshly grated

Salt and freshly ground pepper



Method

Butter the inside of a tart ring, about 24cm in diameter and 3.5cm high, place on a small baking tray and set aside in the fridge. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round, 3mm thick. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and unravel it over the tart ring. Press the pastry into the ring using your index fingers and thumbs, making sure it is properly attached to the ring, then set aside in the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.


Cut off any excess pastry above the top of the ring, using a small knife.

Prick the base with a fork in a dozen or so places, then line the base and sides with greaseproof paper. Fill with ceramic baking beans, rice or dried beans and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.


Lift out the paper and baking beans or rice. Brush the insides of the pastry case with the beaten egg and return it to the oven for 5 minutes, for the base to dry out. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down, with the pastry case still in the ring.


For the filling, heat the groundnut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the lardons and cook for 1 minute, then set aside in a small sieve.


Put the eggs, egg yolks and cream in a bowl and mix with a whisk, without overworking. Add the nutmeg, some salt and pepper and the Kirsch, if using.


Distribute the lardons and cheese over the base of the pastry case. Pour the egg and cream mixture into the case almost to the top of the ring, and transfer to the oven (at 180°C/Gas 4) for 20 minutes. Lower the oven setting to 160°C/Gas 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes.


Check the filling is cooked by inserting a trussing needle or skewer into the centre; it should come out clean and shiny, with no trace of filling on it. As soon as the quiche is cooked and out of the oven, lift the tart ring up and off the quiche, taking care not to damage it.


To serve, use a large palette knife to slide the quiche onto a round plate, or serve it on the baking tray. Use a sharp knife to cut it into slices at the table.


Variation

To make a tarte flambée, a distant cousin of this quiche, very finely slice 2 large onions and mix with 200ml double cream and the juice of 1 lemon. Add a generous sprinkling of thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Spread this mixture over

a puff pastry base 3–4mm thick, sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil and cook in a hot oven at 200°C/Gas 6 for 12–15 minutes. Serve straight from the oven, scattered with a few shavings of smoked pork if you like.


Pâte à Foncer / Flan Pastry


This pastry has a lovely crispness. It can be kept in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Makes about 480g


Ingredients

250g plain flour

125g butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened

1 egg

1 tsp caster sugar

½ tsp fine salt

40ml cold water


Method

Heap the flour on a clean work surface and make a well. Put the butter, egg, sugar and salt in the middle. With your fingertips, mix and cream the ingredients well.


Now, little by little, draw the flour into the centre and work the dough with your fingertips to a grainy texture. Add the cold water and mix it in until the dough begins to hold together.


Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4 or 5 times until it is completely smooth. Roll the pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.






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